WHEN: Sunday, 1 p.m., Alumni Stadium
NEED TO KNOW: South Florida will try to build on the first victory in the Big East tournament in the school's history when it faces Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon.
The Fighting Irish finished with the best record in the Big East, going 10-0-1, and is 14-3-1 overall. Melissa Henderson leads the team with eight goals, while Lauren Fowlkes has added seven, as the Fighting Irish have averaged 2.27 goals per game in Big East play. But the bigger strength of the Fighting Irish has been their defense, which allowed only four goals in its Big East schedule.
The Bulls will hope that Chelsea Klotz, who is second in the conference in scoring with nine goals, can continue her strong run of form. Klotz scored the only goal in the Bulls first-round victory against DePaul, having another goal wiped on a close offside call.
South Florida should also have Taylor Patterson, Gina Pacheco, Rehana Murani and Bahar Sansar back in the line-up after the quartet was absent while attending Canadian under-20 team tryouts on Thursday. Coach Denise Schilte-Brown said she was expecting the players to meet up with the team in South Bend, Ind. All four have been critical to the Bulls’ success this season, with Patterson tied for the team lead in assists with five.
The Fighting Irish have won both previous meetings of the schools by a combined score of 7-0, including a 3-0 victory last season. This, though, is a better Bulls team than both of those, and the squad is confident it is capable of pulling what would be a major upset and advancing to the semifinals.